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SABRE – third party security assessment and certification for buildings and built infrastructure.

The security profession is complex. Historically, a lack of standardisation, regulation, and understanding has created a very complicated landscape of operators, guards, technicians, engineers and consultants… (the list may be endless), all falling under the same banner of ‘security’. What this has meant is that many terms have been developed for similar things, and similar terms can have a multitude of meanings – basically, it is almost impossible for anyone from outside of the security profession to really engage with and understand the value, role, and function of ‘security’.

Many security consultants have said that security is too broad to define, and that it is too complicated to standardise – but research funded by the BRE Trust, led by BRE Global and supported by BB7, has resulted in a new Loss Prevention Standard (LPS) and pilot certification scheme.

What is SABRE?

SABRE (Security Assurance by BRE) is the name of the new global assessment and certification scheme operated by BRE Global Ltd, the independent third party certification organisation. Like BREEAM, BRE Global’s sustainability rating scheme, the scheme is assessor led. SABRE assesses the physical, technical and management sub-systems that contribute to effective protective security and results in an assurance rating that ranges from Acceptable to Outstanding.

SABRE assesses the physical, technical and management sub-systems that contribute to effective protective security and results in an assurance rating that ranges from Acceptable to Outstanding.
A facility that fails to achieve a minimum overall score of 40% or does not meet the schemes mandatory minimum requirements will not receive a SABRE Rating or certification. The scheme recognises the significant contribution of management to effective security and as such, a higher SABRE Rating can be achieved by evidencing improvements in security leadership, policy and procedural controls. This allows scheme members to demonstrate improvement without new capital investment in security controls.

A single metric for assessing security performance

The SABRE assurance rating provides a single metric for comparing and benchmarking performance across a portfolio of assets or with assets owned and operated by other scheme users. It recognises that one scheme user may have a very different risk appetite to another and that risks will vary from one organisation to another and from one location to another.

The SABRE assurance rating provides a single metric for comparing and benchmarking performance across a portfolio of assets or with assets owned and operated by other scheme users.
This makes SABRE very flexible and as relevant to a bank as it is to a hotel. It also means that those with asset portfolios that cross national borders, and who may be subject to different legislative regimes, can have a consistent measure of quality across their portfolio. These features allow for the identification of improvement opportunities and assist the scheme member in identifying priorities for investment.

The second part of the SABRE scheme involves scenario based testing of a facility’s security. The scheme assesses security risks associated with a broad spectrum of malevolent acts and at a system level, identifies vulnerabilities and consequences. This allows users to understand how changes in threat can influence security risks and establish the benefits associated with new or amended controls.

In the world of security, it is frequently thought that something is better than nothing, but this is often not the case.
In the world of security, it is frequently thought that something is better than nothing, but this is often not the case and a poor understanding of security threats, poor definition of operational requirements and failure to adopt tested and certified measures can result in ineffective solutions and a false sense of security. Take for example a line of architectural bollards installed around a building for the purpose of hostile vehicle mitigation. If they are not correctly spaced, they will be ineffective and essentially worthless. If they are not correctly specified, a hostile vehicle may be able to overcome the barrier, again making them worthless.

SABRE will only reward effective measures and therefore, claims of improved security can only be made if system performance is evidenced.
SABRE will only reward effective measures and therefore, claims of improved security can only be made if system performance is evidenced. This allows end users to understand the real value of their controls, gives greater confidence in security capabilities and provides a vehicle for security professionals to evidence the value of their advisory services.

Assessing facilities with SABRE

SABRE can be used to assess both new facilities at the procurement phase as well as facilities in-use. For new projects, architects and designers are encouraged to consider security from the outset of a project. SABRE calls for controls that will protect the asset post occupation and recommends consideration of security requirements even during asset procurement. It recognises and rewards the planning and implementation of built asset information security which is becoming increasingly important with the adoption of BIM.

Significant cost savings can be made by considering security at an early stage of built asset procurement.
Significant cost savings can be made by considering security at an early stage of built asset procurement. Spatial planning, architecture and engineering design all influence facility security risks. If security is not addressed at this stage, opportunities will be missed to reduce or remove vulnerabilities. Often, a security minded approach can reduce risks without any additional capital cost and will reduce reoccurring operational security costs later in the asset life cycle. This is very much the case for threats associated with terrorism, where good access and circulation planning, building placement and orientation can offer dramatic reductions in incident consequences.

Where a project team fail to adopt an integrated approach, a security specialist brought onto a project team late in the design process will be heavily constrained and their solutions will inevitably be more costly, more intrusive to operations and less aesthetically pleasing.

BB7 promote creative thinking in terms of security. It is our position, that compliance with standards is a natural bi-product of effective security strategy and engineering design.

Security should be experienced, not endured.

For more information on SABRE visit the BRE website or please email info@bbseven.com .

Jim Swift
Head of Security Engineering
LLB Hon’s MSyI
jimswift@bbseven.com

The BRE are currently seeking pilot projects for SABRE!

BB7 are offering an initial review to medium / large organisations that are keen to achieve certification.

Whether you are just starting to think about security, or if you have already adopted a Security Engineering or Security Risk Management approach, we can give an initial ‘heads up’ on what remains to be done for you to gain your SABRE rating.

For more informations, please email info@bbseven.com

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